Humanity is in its infancy in understanding war, and it’s about time we grow up
Humanity’s wars do not happen for the claimed excuses. If they did, we would be able to prevent them. Every causal reason given for every conflict by every expert during, and by historian after, is tangential, if not incorrect. Wars also don’t happen for land nor money nor resources, nor over race nor religion. Despite that many Arabs want to destroy Israel because it is Jewish; these are all still workable challenges. We don’t understand why wars happen at all, and we need to.
Humanity’s wars occur because the world develops outstanding questions; moral, philosophical, definitional and others; and lacks the wisdom, logic, and mechanisms to properly address them in time. And the reason we cannot properly address these questions, is because humanity is not rational, but controlled by ideological collective hive minds which do not behave according to their claimed ideals, but separate, unconscious power dynamics.
To understand these dynamics would mean the beginning of the end of all war amongst mankind. This article is an introduction to some of these principles.
How are all mankind’s wars the result of unanswered questions?
WWII occurred because of Europe’s unanswered questions of what to do about Hitler’s rise. The 2021 war in Ukraine occurred because the world didn’t answer the question of how to satisfy Russia’s security needs and NATO at the same time. The current war in Gaza is the result of world’s outstanding questions about which side is morally right, how much land and support each side should have, and how Iran should be dealt with, how Gaza should be dealt with, as examples. Now the war continues because the world can’t agree about what to do about Gaza, the Palestinians, the hostages, and Israel’s future security.
Why cant mankind address such questions properly?
Humanity has difficulty answering the questions that would avoid war because moral perspectives diverge, appear relative, and humanity becomes irrational as we approach conflict. In 1939, the legitimacy of the nations of Europe rounding up Jews into ghettos, and the immorality of doing so, were simply divergent moral perspectives, each with their base of support. The world lost perspective of objective right and wrong, just like it has today.
Why do moral perspectives diverge?
It’s not because of opposing interests, which can be negotiated, but a far deeper phenomenon. In the Lavool village in India in 2021, monkeys waged a species war against dogs, after a dog killed a baby monkey. The monkeys formed mobs, dragged every dog in the town to the tops of trees or buildings and threw them off, killing them. When the monkeys had killed every last dog in the village, they attacked a baby human child. Such hive mentalities have also gripped humanity when we were barely cave men with sticks and stones, with neighboring tribe of cave men attacking our camp, surrounding us, coming to take everything we had. That was war. Our brains reduced serotonin necessary for empathy and peace-building, the cerebral cortex was sidelined, and the primitive amygdala took control, sidelining rational thought.
In a similar phenomena, intelligent people involved in mob riots describe a strange sense of euphoria, drunk on the delicious cocktail of power, anonymity, and invincibility, like it was the most meaningful and fulfilling time of their lives, gathering to indulge in the same hive mentality, which is actually contagious group neurochemistry. The collective unconscious group hive mind was and is the primary driving force like Haidt’s “Elephant and the Rider” analogy, and the individual cognitive mind a weak, distant secondary. We also see this in “group think” mentalities, when a group makes a less wise decision than any individual in the group would make, like the NATO “hive mind” decision to continue war against Russia through Ukraine.
How does misunderstanding such ideological dynamics lead to conflict?
The world failed to see Hitler’s rise until too late because we misunderstood his ability to lead an ideology to war. The U.S. was wrong about Vietnam because we didn’t understand how the Vietnamese ideology would unite with the communists. Russia was wrong about Afghanistan because they didn’t understand why the Afghan Mujahideen ideology would unite with the U.S. Then the U.S. was wrong about Afghanistan because we didn’t understand how the Taliban ideology was embedded in the Afghan collective psyche more than Jeffersonian democracy. The U.S. was wrong about Iraq because we didn’t understand the Iranian leadership’s ideology’s ability to influence Iraq without a Sunni strongman like Saddam. And, Russia was wrong about invading Ukraine in 2021 because Putin didn’t understand Ukraine became a separate ideology that would strengthen from opposing Russia. Now, Putin is wrong again about uniting Russia, Iran, China and North Korea, to try to gain advantage in Ukraine. A Middle East war is not in Russia’s long term interest, as seen from the mob storming the Dagestan airport looking to attack Jews. And of course, China is also wrong in wanting to invade Taiwan, not understanding that most of Asia and more would unite against it.
The ancient Hebrew sages said all wars are the result of avoidable error. And John Steinbeck said, “All wars, a symptom of man’s failures of thinking animal.” Both were correct. As we are on the precipice of possible World War III, mankind is still in our infancy in understanding why we engage in war. We don’t understand why wars happen, how to predict them, prevent them, nor avoid them. The United Nations is often unhelpful, and the peace-building landscape of our entire species, utterly primitive.
Individuals do not decide to go to war. But usually, neither do our leaders. No person does. Netanyahu didn’t choose this Gaza war, but what if neither did any individual in Hamas? All of humanity’s wars are caused by the ideological hive minds that control humanity, wired in primitive mankind since cavemen could wage war with sticks and stones. We become polarized over the outstanding questions. We are still those same cavemen. The more polarized we become, the more irrational, and the more we make mistakes. The ideologies gain power from emotionalized in-group versus out-group polarization, and break down the systems that have maintained peace, until eventually war is the only option left. Withdrawals from nuclear treaties like Russia is currently doing, pulling ambassadors, and cooperating with Iran’s fanatical leadership, are primitive threats to tie our own hands behind our backs in escalations toward war because we don’t know what else to do.
Why are so many treating Israel unfairly?
Why do millions in the West protest for Palestinians, but not the 350,000 of Syrians killed by Assad? Or the entire villages hit with poison gas? Or why not the 300,000 Kurds killed by Iran, or 4000 Kurdish villages destroyed by Turkey? Or the 1.5 million Muslim refugees now in 2023 being expelled by Pakistan back into the hands of the Taliban? Or why not the million Uyghurs held in camps by China or thousands of mosques they defaced or destroyed? Or what about the 1.2 million Armenians killed during the Turkish genocide for that matter?
The moral magnifying glass focus on Israel, or the West, is not rational, but because many, consciously or not, see Israel, or Western civilization, as the out-group. A similarly-polarized axis ideologically supports guilt-labeling Western countries for past colonization and slavery, but somehow not against Islamic slavery which lasted from the 7th to 20th centuries, nor Persians, Greeks or Romans for their slavery, nor Nigeria which had 2 million slaves until it was outlawed in 1936, nor Brazil which at one point had 4 million slaves, nor the slavery of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.
Most of the world does not choose its moral perspectives by rational deduction. It’s ideological and tribal first, with even self-interest a distant second. Often, what we think is a rational problem is actually closer to a type of collective emotional imbalance that skews perspectives.
Why should all peace-loving nations support Israel?
Other nations have no moral right to criticize Israel for its response to October 7th, and usually do so out of hypocrisy. This is clear because in a hypothetical evenly matched bipolar conflict for world domination between Hamas and Israel, any rational self-interested person and nation would side with Israel. Those criticizing Israel do so merely because Hamas is not on their own border.
What is the underlying global moral question at the heart of the dispute?
The world should side with Israel because Israel is at the front line of moral questions that will envelop the entire world unless properly addressed. One such fundamental outstanding question being, whether it is moral to conquer them next. Israel will not, but Islamic extremists expressly intend to.
What America, Europe, Canada, and Australia didn’t realize when they welcomed millions of Muslim refugees, is that while good individual Muslims may be grateful for the tangible benefits, that rationality is sidelined when dominant ideological group perspectives remain tribal. Leaderless ideologies naturally channel power to extreme personalities, and aggressively vying for power in non-Islamic lands provides inherent political gain. China and Qatar sent billions to U.S. Ivy League and over a hundred other universities, because they understand this tribalism better than idealistic intellectuals who pretend they can rationalize past it. While migrants, Palestinians, and Afghans can prosper better in democracies, the ideological compulsion to oppose out-group ideologies is often more powerful than their own self-interest. Concepts like “human rights” can be beautiful dreams or ideological war mechanisms depending on the ideological context.
Why did anti-Semitism increase 400% before Israel even responded to October 7th?
The attacks were so savage, burning babies and genital mutilation, that millions of ideologically like-minded felt compelled to take to the streets to connect with the intoxicating hive mind. Even leaders of nations feel compelled to join in. In September, 43% of Palestinians supported Hamas according to Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, but a poll by the Arab World for Research and Development a few weeks ago found that 76% of Palestinians viewed Hamas favorably. As man gets closer to war, we become more tribal and primitive, and that includes more anti-Semitic. After October 7, many Western “liberals” woke up to see the true nature of the side they had unknowingly been supporting. It’s an interesting question whether anti-Semitism rose because Hamas attacked, or, did Hamas attack because the global anti-Israel ideology became so strong, it destroyed peoples’ rational ability to understand Israel is not committing genocide, apartheid, racism, or colonization, as so many mindlessly accuse. Apartheid was by European-origin settlers in South Africa against an indigenous population, but Jews are indigenous to Israel and have no other homeland. As “colonize” means people with one homeland exerting power over a foreign people in another land (ex: British colonies in America), only the Arabs can be colonizers, as Arabs are from Arabia, and Jews are indigenous to Judea. Jews by definition cannot colonize their only and home territory. However, this debate is not rational.
No matter how many parties in a conflict, it’ll ultimately become bipolar, just like each of our world wars. This is why cheering the merits of “both sides”, as the world tends to do, would have been unacceptable in WWII and every anti-Semitic persecution in history, only facilitating more conflict. The path to peace is not condemning both October 7 and Israel’s response, but actually finding constructive solutions. The problem with criticizing Israel’s policies is, unless one stands up for Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state first and foremost, they are helping the other side commit genocide while thinking they are merely being even-handed.
Why do ideologies with opposing values unite against Israel, the U.S., or the West?
Why do some self-described “liberals” support Hamas after they burned children alive? Why do some LGBTQ unite with Hamas who want to kill them? Why do some feminists unite with Islamic extremists who ban women’s rights? Why do Islamic extremists unite with communists who ban religion? Why does BLM side with Palestinians and not Ethiopian Jews? Why does much of the world side with Islamic expansionists who openly plan to conquer them next? Terrorists are a scourge on all peoples, like pirates. Even if you make a deal with one, they just change their mind later, or another terrorist group attacks anyway. So why do they have so much global support?
The answer is, that ideologies do not behave per their claimed ideals, but unite even with opposing views for the combined power of doing so against another out-group. For example, while feminists should logically unite with the only Middle East nation that elected a woman prime minister, they unite with the Islamic extremists because their sub-ideologies unite against what they see as a common out-group in the establishment ideology of (“patriarchal”) Western Civilization. Carl Jung said people don’t have ideas, but rather, ideas possess individuals. Friedrich Nietzche said, “In individuals, insanity is rare. But in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” Both of them were also correct.
Why is winning the debate so difficult?
The logical points about the conflict, the “occupation”, Palestinian statehood, and the rest, are secondary. The real problem, is the susceptibility of the Palestinian population to be ideologically polarized against Israel as the primary out-group. As long as that is the case, whether by Iran or Hamas or anyone else, it doesn’t matter if you give Palestinians a state, education, and every one of them a Mercedes.
Ideologies behave like separate, living social organisms.
1. These separate living organisms have interests separate from the individuals and the leaders.
2. These separate living organisms have interests superior to the individuals and leaders.
3. These separate living organisms hide reality from and override the rational thinking of their adherents.
4. These separate organisms gain and channel power from in-group versus out-group polarization and conflict.
Mankind’s wars can be viewed from the perspective of ideological entities that behave like separate living organisms as the invisible puppet-masters of conflicts. The measure of the degree to which an individual versus an ideology is the entity is called “entitativity.”
Remember, when the Lavool monkeys attacked the baby human? It’s because ideologies take on a life of their own separate from their values, and continue conflict like a living organism that wants to survive and grow. What else is suicide bombing, if not the ideology saying it is the entity, and sending the individual suicide bomber as the drone; not like a bee protecting the hive and queen, but harming the individuals for the power of the true entity, the hive mind. Clearly, what Hamas does is not in the interests of individual Palestinians.
We see such dynamics in the Communist Party in China which, the more it strengthens, the more it ironically sees the U.S. as a threat. We have it in NATO’s mindless group-think mentality trying to destroy Russia in a decision no individual member would make. Of course, Russia and China, are both natural amicable power balancers with the U.S., and not Islamic extremists. Nonetheless, they now join those extremists in short-term-thinking partnerships in their own grave disinterest. They thoughtlessly empower terrorists, who would be more than happy to see Russia, China, and the United States in nuclear war destroy each other.
Why have we been so unsuccessful at destroying terrorist groups?
The U.S. has been unable to destroy the Taliban, and Israel has been unable to destroy Hamas and Hezbollah, because they are ideas. While Israel can and should kill every Hamas member in Gaza, it cannot destroy a terrorist group that is an idea without addressing the ideology, and its external support from Iran and Qatar. Remember with Amalek, Jews weren’t told to kill just the fighters, but all memory of them. That’s why the first thing Hamas wanted in exchange for the hostages was Netanyahu’s assurance not to kill Hamas in Qatar. And why did Qatar broker the negotiations? Because they have been funding over $1.8 billion to Hamas.
Israel should defend itself regardless what the world thinks, as Golda Meir said. However, if Israel is truly wise, it will address not just the military challenge, but the ideological challenge of much of the world misguidedly uniting against it. Otherwise, what happened to Jewish minorities in so many nations in history that turned anti-Semitic will happen on a global scale, and that growing ideological entity will cause a world war, and a nuclear war, if not this time, soon.
How can we destroy Hamas and other terrorist groups that harm all sides?
After Israel kills every Hamas member it can find, here are some basics in dealing with terrorist groups and the harmful extremist ideologies that support them:
1. Extremists are like fish that can only swim in a sea of moderates. If you try to kill all fish in the sea, they’ll just go into deeper waters and reproduce there. But the sub-group weakens when the tide, or broader ideology, recedes. Hamas is part of the broader Palestinian “cause”, which is part of a broader Arab ideology, which is part of multiple broader Islamic ideologies which have both good and bad Muslims, pro and anti-Israel views.
2. Terrorist groups are an idea, and the only thing that can destroy an idea, is a better idea. Better options must be provided, even if the world must push them upon a population. If there is no political debate amongst Palestinians, all out-group polarization is directed toward Israel.
3. It is sometimes better to divert powerful energy momentum instead of fighting it. “Free Palestine” should become “Free Palestine from Hamas”. If “From the river to the sea…” became “From Jordan River to the Caspian sea, Palestine will be free”, watch that phrase go extinct in days.
4. Empower moderate and constructive Islamic leaders to speak against terrorism, extremism, and Islamic conquest of Western Civilization, to help achieve balance and peace. An ideology’s own leaders have greater ability to shape views. October 7th was in part response to power flow to moderate states like UAE, Bahrain, and the Saudis, versus Iran and Turkey’s power gain from the Arab street’s uproar.
5. Answer the outstanding questions and clarify moral positions. It is a perfectly moral position for non-Islamic countries to have strong relations with, do business with, and respect Islam in the Islamic world, yet still not want to be colonized in their own countries. Israel is at the forefront of a key moral question that shapes ideologies, which in turn shapes present and future conflicts. When the world accepts a better moral perspective than one that allows conquest of other cultures, political power will flow to leaders who seek balance. Until the world clarifies and unifies its moral position on this issue, we inadvertently unite those who seek peace and those who seek conquest, inviting expansion and conflict. A key moral question here is how to not be hateful, yet preserve indigenous cultures, a challenge India and many other nations wrestle with today, and all cultures may eventually.
6. Divide. Divide. Divide. Not with force, but ideologically. Not for conflict, but divide the elements of would-be unnecessary and irrational conflicts with truth and common sense as part of a broader peace-building strategy. Divide Palestinians from Hamas not acting in their interest. Divide all terrorists from their supporting populations, so peoples can have better opportunities. Divide terrorists from their leaders and sponsors living in luxury. Divide Palestinians who want peace from those who do not. Divide Hamas from Iran. Divide Egypt and Jordan who refuse to accept refugees from the rest of the Islamic world that wants to help the Palestinians. Divide the Iranian leadership from the good Iranian people who have no interest in nuclear weapons or war. And divide Iran from its supporters, as Iran getting the bomb is not in Saudi, Russian, nor Chinese interests.
7. And finally, activate the cerebral cortex.
You don’t need an army to stop another army. Just ask them a question they can’t answer.
In reality, neither Russia, China, nor the Islamic world necessarily need to be polar enemies, if we have proper balances in place. There is an entire universe of ways for humanity to build peace and prevent wars. We just need to find them, develop them, and implement them.
This is just an introduction to what comes next. Humanity is capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. It’s time we fight. Not each other, but for each other. It’s time we made the world a much more beautiful place than it was. And so it begins.
About the author:
Daniel Ben Abraham is the author of The PeaceMatrix™ Volume 1: The Mission to Implement the World’s Most Revolutionary Peace-Building System and Stop WWIII, and soon to be released, Volume 2. More at www.danielbenabraham.com
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